Music Talk: How Eldar Kedem Developed His Smooth and Catchy Indie Sound

eldar kedem

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Highlights

Born and raised in the Golan Heights, Eldar Kedem’s a small-town artist with big dreams
He’s a musical marvel and mastered the saxophone, guitar and piano before he turned 15
Now, he’s one of Artlist Original’s most-loved artists, and his folk/indie/pop tracks reach millions of listeners worldwide

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For someone who grew up in a small village, Eldar Kedem’s music is astonishingly universal. His productions glide between pop, folk, indie and rock and address themes ranging from fresh starts to first dates to sad goodbyes. His singing voice is familiar and unique all at once, with a pop-like smoothness and song structures reminiscent of Real Estate and Beach House. With 7 Artlist Original albums and EPs and 3 of his own, Eldar Kedem has made catchy tunes an art form and won over millions of fans in the process.

From jazz to Pink Floyd

Eldar’s not 100% sure where his knack for music and songwriting came from. He grew up in the Golan Heights, a sparsely populated region in Israel that sits on the Syrian and Lebanese border. “It was amazing but also isolated,” Eldar says. “I grew up in a small community of mostly farmers, and my father is a farmer, and my mother is a teacher and writer.” Nevertheless, Eldar became infatuated with music when he was 10 years old after a brass band came to his school. From that moment, he knew he wanted to play the saxophone. 

Eldar got the hang of the sax strangely quickly for someone with no prior musical experience, and by the time he was 11 was playing for the local band, whose members were all 18+. But when he turned 14, he fell out of love with jazz and quit saxophone in favor of learning piano. He mastered that after a year, which was around the same time he fell head over heels for Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and The Beatles. His mother bought him a guitar, and within a few months, he’d outgrown his guitar teacher and was playing freestyle. The village called him “Magic Kid.”

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Discovering his voice

Serendipitously, Eyal Raz, the co-founder and CCO of Artlist, is from the same village, and he stepped up as Eldar’s mentor to teach him more complex guitar skills. Eldar would have loved to join a band in his teens, but he didn’t know enough musicians in his area to create one, so he mostly played instrumental covers of his favorite songs. It was only when started traveling abroad that he started singing along.

“I didn’t know I could sing. I didn’t dare to open my mouth, but it all came out in India.” Eldar says the spirituality of the place unlocked something inside him. “When I came back, I had 20 songs.”

“Working with Artlist is extremely freeing. I can perform the songs and upload them onto my YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. I treat it like my ‘regular’ music.”

Confident that music was his destiny, Eldar enrolled at Rimon School of Music just north of Tel Aviv to study Music Production. It was a shock to go from his small village to a college full of musicians, but Eldar spent his studies honing his production and songwriting skills and making indispensable contacts in the local music industry. “I think I wrote about 150 songs while I was studying. And while I was writing, I started to produce.”

Eldar slowly built up a studio, buying microphones and pedals and learning how to record, mix and master. So In 2018, when he began work on the album Quiet and Fruits, he could do everything himself from start to finish.

“The album explored the differences between my quiet little life in the Golan and city life. I was naive, but I liked it and wanted to be part of it. I just had a lot to learn.” Eldar says the writing process was a form of therapy, a sense of anticipation mixed with melancholy runs throughout the album like a thread.

COVID hit just after the album came out, so Eldar was only able to tour in 2021. He enjoyed playing in venues locally but didn’t enjoy the endless self-promotion. “That’s why I prefer to be in a studio writing and producing music.”

The Artlist Effect

He started working with Artlist Original in 2021. The team was already familiar with his music, and his laidback, folk-pop tracks perfectly fit Artlist’s community of creatives. In addition, working with Artlist Original meant Eldar could make a living from music and boost his own catalog simultaneously. “Working with Artlist is extremely freeing. I can perform the songs and upload them onto my YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. I treat it like my ‘regular’ music.”

“I hope to continue working with Artlist because it gives me an opportunity to create, try different genres and push myself in new directions.”

Eldar particularly enjoys being part of a team and getting feedback on his tracks. Now Eldar’s music reaches millions of people, thanks to brands and companies using his music to promote their products. When his track was used in a Crocs commercial, it impacted every aspect of his enterprise. “It got 3 million views, so all my hits on Spotify and Apple Music and YouTube increased. And if just 1% of those 3 million likes my music, that’s a lot.”

It’s fair to say Eldar’s a songwriting machine. He self-released his second album, Live in Harmony, in 2021, and his latest offering, In A Room and a Half, came out in July 2022. Plus, he’s produced 7 albums and EPs for Artlist Original, and his tracks are some of the most popular in the catalog. “New Beginning,” for example, is a low-tempo acoustic track full of sunshine and harmonies.

while “Stringy Road” is a string-led orchestral piece that would suit a coming-of-age film or a quirky rom-com.

“Walking Around” is one of Eldar’s most popular tracks, with an upbeat melody, fast-paced percussion and optimistic lyrics about self-discovery.

“My dream is to work with lots of different people and artists and perform around the world,” Eldar says. “And I hope to continue working with Artlist because it gives me an opportunity to create, try different genres and push myself in new directions.”

Head to Eldar Kedem’s Artlist page for his full musical catalog.

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About Alice Austin

Alice Austin is a freelance writer from London. She writes for Mixmag, Beatportal, Huck, Dummy, Electronic Beats, Red Bulletin and more. She likes to explore youth and sub-culture through the lens of music, a vocation that has led her around the world. You can contact and/or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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